About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dry Skin: The Tip of the Iceberg?

Desperate times call for desperate measures: using a hydrating mask yesterday before the dehydration numbers came in from my blood work.

Well, it seems that I've sort of lost yet another body part, or more accurately, the functionality of it.

Three weeks ago, in order to help out over-worked hubby, it was my daughter who took me to my monthly mandatory visit to my GP.  Well, THAT was a bit of a stunner.  My daughter, a teacher, put on that special ed teacher hat of hers, the one I don't normally see in full action, and in a very gentle manner, basically urged, prodded and forced me to explain all the concerns I've been experiencing since about spring, almost a year and a half ago by now.  Who knew she could be this person?

I've KNOWN that there is something new that is majorly wrong with me - and have, at times, complained about it loudly, other times not bothering to at all since I too often feel that no one is listening.  But what I do realize is that my daughter has a finely tuned antenna for the things that go on with me, amazingly so.  Anyway, this "major new hugely bad problem" happens every few years - with the time my body stopped producing Human Growth Hormone as one prime example.  So, blood tests were ordered (at my daughter's gentle but firm insistence to do it now in order to just get the ball rolling) and yesterday I got one set of results: I have developed hypothyroidism.  Furthermore, the other "bad numbers" that came in gel with hypothyroidism.

In talking to my doctor, he brought up a good question: how can I fix you if you can't tell me what it is?  Fibro-brain at its best on my part.  Good point on his.  However, since that visit I've amassed a list of at least 12 new strange things, things I'd mutter under my breath without realizing it ad hubby hearing it.  A few are explained by the hypothyroidism (more on that in a future post) 

This news is not surprising since the tricky part in the past year and a half has been that there are so many symptoms which overlap with CFIDS/ME and hypothyroidism, with a short account on that in days to come.  To demonstrate how tricky some of these diagnoses are, I thought I'd jot down a "few" of the symptoms (ha!) which I found on sites from the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and others:

  • Coarse and thinning hair. (check: for thinning!)
  • Dry skin. (check: to be discussed in a later post)
  • Brittle nails.  (check: incredibly so)
  • A yellowish tint to the skin. (check: comes and goes but so much lately that I've actually tried bleaching my palms!!!)
  • Slow body movements. (check)
  • Cold skin (check: but more later)
  • Increased inability to tolerate cold. (hey: why don't I have that?  Oh yeah I do, I simply forgot how often I've been changing the thermostat each day lately)
  • Memory problems (duh? And see above)
  • Problems concentrating (check!)
  • Feeling tired, sluggish, or weak. (Super, super, super check, aka "SSSC")
  • Constipation  (no comment)

To continue, I also read that "other, less common symptoms" may include:

  • Modest weight gain, unexplained weight gain 10 lb (4.5 kg) or less. (check: future post)
  • Swelling of the arms, hands, legs, and feet (check: eye roll) 
  • Peripheral neuropathy (check: it got better but recently moved to new areas)
  • Facial puffiness, particularly around the eyes. (you have noooo idea how bad lately)
  • Hoarseness. (ditto: almost never talk w/out hoarseness now)
  • Muscle aches and cramps. (really?)
  • Pale, dry skin (oy!)
  • An elevated blood cholesterol level (ay!)
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness (aha!)
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints (hmmm...of course!)
  • Muscle weakness (it's all in my head, right?)
  • Food unappetizing, no taste (yes...I'm gonna cry!)
  • Sadness or depression

I loved the depression part as I have that psychiatric wastebasket bugaboo, being a veteran of the DD war and thus scarred from the early years when my CFIDS/ME and fibro were unknown and later when NO one out there believed.  We are not only our "mother's daughters" - as I've so often said - but we are also products of our generation and my generation of CFIDS/ME and fibromyalgia was treated as shabbily as the suffragettes who had the audacity to want to vote and were all too often considered mentally ill for such outrageously blasphemous thinking.

I will start taking the thyroid medication and it'll take a month or two to kick in and we will see what happens. Hopefully, once the thyroid levels become normal, the cholesterol count of 355 will come down, the triglycerides, glucose levels will go to more normal levels and the latest puzzle of why my skin is so dry, with very little helping to remedy the situation, my eyes dry as well, to the point of being almost unbearably painful, will be answered.

You can bet that I will be coming back to this topic.  It's important to keep in mind that it's dangerous to keep blaming EVERYTHING on the DD.  Just because you have CFIDS/ME and fibromyalgia doesn't mean that you get a pass for other illnesses developing - even cancer.  In fact, because of our wacky immunological and neurological dysfunctional, compromised and impaired systems, I would venture to think that we are at an added risk for just about everything across the board.

I know that the hypothyroidism is not the answer to what I'm calling, "the big new seriously bad thing that is happening" problem.  But at least we have a good start!  (And yes, I realize that was yet another sentence fragment.)

At any rate, here's to everyone feeling the best they can be, only better!

Finally, a reminder that tomorrow is the drawing for the Skyn Iceland kit.  You know the spiel by now.  There's still time to join and enter. Just think: those who've signed up and left a post here have perhaps the biggest chance in the world of winning something EVER!   Again, it just staggers the mind!

Caio and paka!  (Hmmm....I think I like that Italian and Russian mix for "good bye" and "till next time.")


  1. I'm following your blog now! Thank you for leaving a comment on my site http://jessicagimeno.com, Fashionably iLL: The Cancer & Autoimmune Girl's Stylist! I appreciate hearing about your strength and how you've endured all these years.

    1. Thank you, Jessica. Such kind words from you. I look forward to reading more of your blog and you reading mine: you made great points about dealing with our various problems with style as well as sisterhood. I was happy to discover your blog. Xx

  2. Hello, I as well have Hypothyroidism from Hashimotos Throiditis that most people don't realize they have. Doctors usually don't do a routine anti body test on this bc it is expensive. I was lucky at 30 they found my antibodies so high in the thousands I needed medicine ASAP. I knew it wasn't going to kill me but I can't stand everything that comes along with hypothyroidism. If you have questions you can email me at vknusta@me.com

    1. Hi! My endocrinologist did run for Hashimotos and the numbers came back normal. I'm still having a hard time dealing w/ the thyroid problem but I think it's b/c there are so many things breaking down on me right and left and my body is just finding everything too much to withstand any longer. I may take you up on contacting you if things don't improve soon, however! Thanks so much for writing in, as well as your kind offer! Xx